The U.S. Travel Association says a federally run “trusted traveler program” could drastically improve the efficiency and lower costs of congested security checkpoints at the nation’s airports.
Roger Dow, CEO of the travel advocacy group, with Tom Ridge, former secretary of the Homeland Security department, unveiled the program today at a live panel discussion on aviation security hosted by the Washington Post.
The program is part of a suggested package of reforms titled “A Better Way: Building a World Class System for Aviation Security.” In the program, travelers would voluntarily submit their biometric and biographical data as well as employment and credit card background information in exchange for a less strenuous screening process at airports once they are validated as low-risk security threats.
Rather than the current one-size-fits-all security approach, pre-screening in the trusted traveler program would enable the Transportation Security Administration to focus its resources on unscreened and highest-risk travelers. “Treating everyone like a terrorist is not an efficient way of doing things,” said Ridge. Dow added, “To find the needle in the haystack, you reduce the haystack.”
U.S. Travel plans to present the program and other passenger security reforms to Congress and the TSA. It is hoping that the program would enroll as much as 70 percent of the traveling public.
The full report is available from U.S. Travel